Determining whether symptoms described by a patient are IBS or functional dyspepsia can be a challenge for family doctors as symptoms of these two conditions often overlap. In one study, doctors aimed to determine and compare the distribution of GI symptoms, both upper and lower, among IBS-C and IBS-D patients.

Researchers looked at 121 consecutive IBS patients and grouped them according to sub-type. Those who were constipation-predominant were found to have more overlapping symptoms than those who were diarrhea-predominant. Upper gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those in dyspepsia were found more frequently in patients with IBS-C, and these patients had more frequent lower abdominal pain and bloating than those with IBS-D.

First published in the Inside Tract® newsletter issue 144 – July/August 2004
Talley NJ, et al. Overlapping upper and lower gastrointestinal symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome patients with constipation and diarrhea The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2003;98(11):2454-2459